FAZ President Kalusha Bwalya admits he took money from former FIFA executive committee member Mohammad Bin Hammam.
However, the president of the Football Association of Zambia believes he is not guilty of any wrong-doing, claiming that he received US$50,000 from Bin Hammam to help cover association expenses and that the money was accepted as a loan.
According to a recent investigation by the UK’s Sunday Times, Bin Hammam made payments to several members of other nations’ Football Associations in the run up to his FIFA presidential election campaign and prior to the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bid decisions that took place in December 2010.
While Bwalya has admitted to taking cash from Hammam, he says there was nothing underhand about the transaction that took place between the two men.
“It was a loan which I had to pay. When I said I had the money they said no, and that’s where we are. Bin Hammam is a personal friend of mine, I knew him for a long time,” the former international midfielder told the Zambian Football website.
“He said to me that ‘if you need any help’, let me know, so he said he was going to help me. That is why I wrote him that e-mail so that he can help us with that amount. He, however, did not send us that amount (the US$80,000 as stated by the Sunday Times), he sent less (US$50,000).
Bwalya conceded that the deposit was made into his personal bank account, but maintains that nothing was expected of him in return, the Zambian legend believing that the current situation is nothing less than a ‘witch hunt’.
“That’s a witch-hunt by people who lost the bid. Anyone who is in football knows that I do not vote for the World Cup bid. It’s the FIFA executive committee who votes. In fact the leader of the Qatar Bid was another gentleman.
“Zambians should know that I did not take part in the voting for the 2022 World Cup hosts and so could not have voted for Qatar. The 30 presidents of football associations in Africa mentioned in the article have no say in who gets the nod to host a World Cup.
“Even the Sunday Times of the UK knows that even though they went ahead and published those lies about us. Voting for World Cup hosts is the matter for the FIFA executive committee,” he said.
“At the time of the elections for the Qatar 2022 World Cup I was not yet an office bearer in CAF. I was only elected into the CAF executive committee during the elections held in Sudan in 2011. Another thing is that the Qatar bid was headed by someone else, not Bin Hamman.”